Skidaway campus organizations celebrate Coast Weeks

The Skidaway Marine Science Campus partners will celebrate CoastWeeks this fall with a series of educational and entertaining programs and events for the public. CoastWeeks is a national celebration of the nation’s waters and shorelines. The Skidaway celebration will kick-off on September 17 with the Ocean Film Festival and end on October 16 with the Skidaway Marine Science Day open house. In between the two bookend events, Skidaway Institute will present a four part lecture series that will focus on the future of the oceans.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will present its seventh annual Ocean Film Festival September 17-19 at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Trustees Theater. Each year the award-winning festival gets bigger and better; using its ocean issues focus to bring the latest sea-worthy documentaries and short environmental films to Savannah.

More than 90 films were submitted for consideration; 33 were selected for the festival in addition to ten student films. Students from the Savannah College of Art and Design are competing for the Dr. Robert O. Levitt Prize for local emerging film makers.

Several selections focus on the Gulf Coast region, an area of special interest in light of the Deep Water Horizon oil disaster. Filmmaker Jon Bowermester will bring his latest documentary, “SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories” to the festival Saturday evening September 18. Bowermester re-cut parts of this look at ocean, culture, economics and survival along the Gulf Coast to provide an-up-to-the minute look at Deep Water Horizon disaster. Two local filmmakers and recent SCAD graduates, Landon Lott and Tim Arnold, bring their personal views of the disaster with their film “Skimming the Surface.”

Admission is free to all the Ocean Film Festival programs.

For more information and a complete list of the films, see the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary website at http://graysreef.noaa.gov.

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography will present its 2010 Fall Lecture Series entitled “Crystal Ball: Changes Afoot for Our Oceans and Coast in the 21st Century.” The series will explore some of the pressing issues affecting the marine environment and what that means to mankind. The series will consist of four programs, each consisting of two separate lectures. Each program will be presented twice — once at the Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) on Abercorn Street in Savannah and the other in the McGowen Library Auditorium on the Skidaway campus.

All programs will begin at 7 p.m.

Skidaway Institute director Jim Sanders will kick-off the first program on Monday, September 20, at the JEA and Thursday, September 23, at Skidaway Institute. Sanders will look at man’s impact on the ocean and a prognosis for its future. He will be joined by Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary superintendent George Sedberry who will discuss the issue of declining fisheries.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be the subject of a presentation in the second program on Monday, September 27, (JEA) and Thursday, September 30, (Skidaway Institute.) Jay Brandes will explain some of the science behind the spill and clean-up. Elizabeth Mann will join him on the program to discuss how changes at the very bottom of the marine food-web can affect life everywhere on the globe.

The Georgia coast will be the focus of the third program on Monday, October 4, (JEA) and Thursday, October 7, (Skidaway Institute). Clark Alexander will explain how rising sea level impacts the Georgia coast, and Bill Savidge will explore our coastal salt marshes and how they contribute to the environment.

The final program will be presented on Monday, October 11, (JEA) and Thursday, October 14, (Skidaway Institute.) Marc Frischer will describe new scientific tools for tracking difficult-to-find non-source pollution in area waterways and Dana Savidge will explore the way scientists are developing and using new technologies to study the ocean.

Admission to the lectures will be $5 per program for adults. Students and Skidaway Marine Science Foundation members will be admitted free.

The CoastWeeks celebration will wrap up with Skidaway Marine Science Day 2010. This afternoon of marine science programs, displays, tours and activities will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on the campus of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

This campus-wide the open house will be presented by the campus’s marine research and education organizations. All activities at Skidaway Marine Science Day will be free.

Activities will include tours of the Research Vessel Savannah and smaller research vessels; science displays on current research programs; hands-on science activities; science talks; a reptile show; a nature hike; touch tanks; and behind-the-scene tours of the aquarium.

Admission will be free to the University of Georgia Aquarium.

For additional information, call (912) 598-2325, or visit www.skio.usg.edu.

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